Sports legend Muhammad Ali turns fashion icon in a slick new Louis Vuitton advertising campaign.
The 70-year-old legendary boxer appears in the latest installment of an ad campaign that’s featured iconic individuals such as soccer star Pelé, Mikhail Gorbachev and most recently, actress Angelina Jolie.
The print ads, featuring the former world heavyweight champion, will hit the shelves in magazines and newspapers across 60 countries on 14 June.
Photographed last month by Annie Leibovitz in his Phoenix backyard, Ali looks relaxed and remarkably fit as he keeps a watchful eye over a young boy with fists gloved. A pricy $1,525 Louis Vuitton “Keepall 50” bag lies by Ali’s foot.
The three-year-old in the photo, Curtis Muhammad Conway Jr., is the son of Ali’s daughter Laila, a retired boxer, and her husband, former National Football League player Curtis Conway.
The luxury fashion brand has since 2007 focused its ads on iconic characters whose lives can be seen as extraordinary journeys.
Gorbachev, the former president of the Soviet Union, was the campaign’s first subject in 2007. He was seated in the back seat of a limo passing a remnant of the Berlin Wall, a Vuitton Keepall 50 bag on the seat beside him.
The campaign, which the company refers to as “Core Values”, has won a host of awards, including Webbies, a Grand Prix du Luxe Strategies from Condé Nast, and a prize from the French Club des Directeur Artistiques.
Louis Vuitton won’t reveal how much Ali was paid, but officials said payments were made to two organizations, one a personal business enterprise and the other an educational foundation.
Follow Kunbi Tinuoye on Twitter at @Kunbiti